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Leonard Carl Gross


Leonard Carl (Len) Gross was born on July 24, 1939 to Carl & Catherine (Poelma) Gross in Conklin, MI. He left this world for his heavenly reward, after a 10-month battle with cancer, on Tuesday, January 7, 2020. On May 11, 1973 Len married the love of his life, Roberta (Robbie) Garthe. He leaves behind 3 children:  Fr. Dave Gross, Spring Lake, Doug (Tina) Gross, Sun Prairie WI and Cathy (Eric) Buehler of Grand Rapids, and 9 grandchildren:  Jack, Alexandra, Adam & Sara Gross and Claire, Evan, Allie, Jane & Henry Buehler. Len was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Chuck, and his in-laws, Don & Sue Garthe and sister-in-law Fran Garthe.  He is survived by his siblings:  Jerome (Phyllis) Gross, Br. Vincent Gross, CSC, Bert (Tom) McCarthy, Edna (Jim) May, Diane (Brian) Brouwer and his in-laws, Norma (Joe) Drasiewski, John Garthe, Donald (Pete) Garthe, Paulette (Grant) Parsons & Peter Garthe, as well as many nieces & nephews. Len spent 29 years with Kent County Juvenile Court, working as a probation officer, hearing referee and supervisor of probation staff.  He was fortunate to work with a terrific group of people and truly loved his time there.  He was diagnosed with a liver disease in 1986, which began showing effects in 1997. His illness really progressed in 2001 and forced an early retirement. He was blessed to receive a liver transplant in January of 2002 at UW Hospital in Madison WI, and his family will be forever grateful for the new life he was given through the unselfish gift of the donor family and the expert staff at UW Hospital.  Len was given almost 18 more years to enjoy the birth of his 9 grandchildren and traveling. Watching his grandkids grow up was his greatest joy, and they knew that “Grandpa’s candy” was Werthers Original, which he always had in his pocket for them. When you have a Werthers, think of Len. Len and Robbie were parishioners at St. Stephen Catholic Church for 44 years and Len was always involved in the church, as a lector, Communion Minister and Usher and numerous projects in the school.  Sports were a big part of his life, and he enjoyed playing softball, golf, cards and, of course, cheering on the Tigers, Lions, Wolverines, and all Catholic Central sports teams. A rosary will be prayed for Len at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, with visitation from 5-8 pm at the O’Brien-Gerst Funeral Home, 3980 Cascade Road SE, Grand Rapids with a prayer vigil at 7:00. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, January 11, at 11:00 a.m. at St. Stephen Catholic Church, 750 Gladstone Dr SE, East Grand Rapids. The family will greet guests 1 hour prior to Mass. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate memorials to HELP Pregnancy Crisis Aid or Lori’s Voice, two organizations focused on helping families and children.

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9 Responses

  1. I am so sorry for your loss. I will always remember his warm smile and kindness to all.

  2. Our love and sympathy are extended to Robbie, Father Dave, Cathy and Doug as they give their husband/father back to God. Our memories of Len will be etched in our hearts and he and his loved ones will be continually in our prayers. Our hope and joy is in Christ’s Resurrection and His promises to all who believe in Him. Mary and Bill Passinault and Family

  3. We are so sorry for your loss! Please know you will be in our prayers during this difficult time. I remember Len coming to all the Catholic Central basketball games. What a wonderful man! Praying you feel God’s warm embrace and His peace.
    Love, The Marosi Family

  4. My condolences to Bro. Vincent Gross, CSC and all of your family.
    You are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Bro. Roy Smith, CSC

  5. Robbie, we are so sorry for your loss! You all have been in our
    thoughts and prayers for some time now! Len was a great
    man…a loving husband, father, grandfather, and friend! May you
    find solace in his passing. May he rest in peace with our loving
    God! God Bless you and your family!

    Bob & Kath Schneider


  7. Robbie, So sorry to hear about Leonard. We will miss him at our packing sessions. I used to love to hear him talk about the Tigers with Gordy, Sr.

  8. We will miss you, Len. You were a big supporter of. Serra Club of Grand Rapids

  9. Thankful to have known Leonard since High School/College days. May he now rest

    in peace.

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